1. ITV Report

West Midlands Police becomes first force in the world to join Snapchat

West Midlands Police has become the first police force in the world to join photo sharing social network Snapchat.

The internet app allows users to send photos, record videos, add text and drawings to people who follow their account, when they open the 'Snap' they have between 1 or 10 seconds before it disappears.

The force says the photo and video sharing app is becoming increasingly popular with youngsters, rivalling social media heavyweights such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and WMP wants to be a part of it.

Keiley Gartland, from the Corporate Communications Department, said:

“We’ve already got a massive following online and our messages are reaching half-a-million people on a daily basis. Part of this work is about connecting with younger people and helping them to feel they have a close connection with their local police force. “What we want is for them to have the confidence to give us a call or speak to their neighbourhood bobby when they really need our help ? and social media is a great tool for us to do that. We can share crucial updates on incidents and crime prevention tips whilst also offering a unique insight into our work."

– Keiley Gartland

West Midlands Police already uses a host of social media channels to connect with the public, including:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Instagram

Using the username ‘WestMidsPolice’, the force will be sharing a number of images via Snapchat stories every 24 hours.

The pictures will come from across the dozens of departments that made up WMP such as the Cannabis Disposal Team, Traffic Unit, CID, neighbourhood officers and the Dogs Unit.

The force added it's targeting a younger audience on Snapchat, and hopes it means when the force really needs to get an important message out to the community, it'll have a 'captive' audience.